Doug Mitchell’s Vitamin Shop and The Boilermaker
Posted on July 13th, 2012
As discussed previously in my Vitamin Shop, I competed in the thirty fifth running of the Boilermaker road race in Utica, New York. I had a great time, saw a lot of family and friends, and finished the race with my feet and toes in decent shape. The weather was great, only reaching low seventies at the start of the race. And for the most part, the sun stayed hidden by the clouds (except the end). The beginning of the race was wild, I did not even reach the starting line until about five or six minutes into the race. But I cannot use that as an excuse for my long finishing time because my number had some type of micro chip that had a sensor that was identified when I crossed the starting line and periods up through and including the end. As with every year I run this race, I wished I put more training into it about two miles in. With my spasmodic running, I had to develop a tempo or rhythm at that point. The first hill or two were not that bad, but the last longest hill that takes you over a concrete overpass with the sun out at this point was the most difficult.
Maybe I pushed myself too hard in the beginning. I have heard of people doing that, and it kills you later in the run. Mentally, it started to happen to me because I was seriously thinking of how easy it would be to just stop jogging and walk a little. The sun was out and it was getting hot on the overpass. The immediate relief was tempting, but I did want to finish without walking. I kept telling myself things like it was not going to get any tougher, I just had to endure this a little longer. The heat was rough at the end, but I did finish, and I wanted to say something about all the nice people that were out supporting the runners. There were thousands of people on the sides of the road shouting encouragement and clapping. I may be a bit partial since being born there, but Utica is a great town with lively people. Finishing up after you cross the finish line, volunteers direct you where to go. A nice guy hands you a Boilermaker Finisher pin, and you follow the wave of runners into the brewery parking lot and adjacent streets.
After the race concluded and most of the runners were finished, the massive gathering at Saranac Brewery was easily in the thousands. Runners and families got together, and I ran into a few acquaintances I grew up with. A lot of people from Utica run the race because of it’s popularity in the area. And the community treats it almost like a holiday, with most folks having after race parties and barbecues. It was not long after I approached the brewery, two extremely fast planes flew overhead and after a final national anthem, the live music started. The draft beer was free for runners after the race, so obviously, I had to oblige. The Saranac Blueberry Blonde was a sweet, but bitter beer that not surprisingly, had me full after one. Around an hour later, I was walking back to my car thinking of the challenge, but fun I had that day.
There are a lot of life lessons to be learned when competing in an athletic event. Even in my case, finishing in the middle of the pack was respectable enough. To me, I was not really competing with other runners, but with myself. After thinking about it a little longer, I could not help but apply it to bigger things in my life. This is just a little of what I came up with: Daily we compete with ourselves. Some of the time, life is stable, but sometimes is filled with hills and valleys. There are good people out there who are hoping you do well, and are rooting for you. Sometimes you will want to quit. But if you persevere, think positive and fight with pride, you can celebrate and be proud of your hard work.
To Your Health